This paid summer training program provides a small group of rising Williams sophomores and juniors, with priority given to rising sophomores, training in key skills, and the opportunity to help build better community service and experiential learning opportunities at Williams. The 7 week-long, 35-hour/week position reports to the CLiA Director and includes on-campus housing. The 2020 Program ran remotely for 6 weeks and was adapted to fit COVID-19 constraints. We are hoping that we will return to an in-person program during the summer of 2021. If the college disallows on-campus programming, we will again run a remote version of the program.
- Participation in orientation and training sessions
- Working on a group creative project and an individual project with a community organization
- Assisting in the review and improvement of community outreach programming and partnerships
- Designing community tours and community service activities for others
We look for highly motivated students with a strong work ethic, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to work independently. Familiarity with (or willingness to learn) Microsoft Excel, Google Drive, and WordPress is also desirable. The program also provides basic training in videography, web design, and graphic arts.
Past Community Outreach Fellow teams have created music video public service announcements, training videos, and podcasts. Individual projects have included designing flyers and newsletters for local non-profits and helping develop mobile phone apps.
Our most recent Community Outreach Fellows are featured below. For more information about previous years’ Fellows, please visit our Past Fellows page.
To apply, complete this form by March 30th, 2021. Questions? Visit CLiA’s weekly Thursday Open Office Hours from 12:30-1:30 pm or email CLiA Director Paula Consolini at [email protected]
(Click the students’ names to learn more about their work)
"The past summer was an uncertain one for everyone, but I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend it as a Community Outreach Fellow. Although this was the first year that the fellowship was entirely virtual, the friendly faces at CLiA and in the Berkshires were present to welcome and guide us through the entire program. I learned something new at every meeting, from the remarkable work of community leaders in the Berkshires to the ways in which Williams students can get involved. The workshops also provided us with the resources to develop our own projects through zine-making, video-editing, and website-building, while prompting us to think about how to best reach and cater to our audiences.
Specifically, I was glad to have worked with an amazing team in creating tribute videos for the non-medical essential workers in the Berkshires. While they are often overlooked, it is so important that we recognize and thank our everyday heroes for keeping our community safe and supplied. The meetings also inspired and steered me through my individual project, in which I created a coloring booklet of African American role models for elementary-age children.
I was out-of-touch with the wider Berkshire community during my first year at Williams, but the fellowship opened my eyes to the expanse of opportunities in the regions beyond the Purple Bubble. The creative freedom in developing our work allowed me to think more deeply about the various aspects of community engagement while generating an interesting project with a tangible impact on the local community. I am thankful for the Community Outreach Fellowship because the experiences provided me with a toolkit that I am bound to use again in the future, both inside and outside the classroom."
"I was interested in working as a Summer Fellow for CLiA because of the opportunity to engage with the Berkshire community and the important work being done by local organizations. Going into the program, I had almost no experience with outreach and nonprofits, but this was a wonderful introduction and I learned so much from Williams students, alumni, and community leaders. It ultimately helped me realize what else I want to get involved in in the future through CLiA and it opened my eyes to Berkshire networks I hadn’t known existed.
For my project, I worked with the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry in North Adams, a dedicated all-volunteer group that became more important than ever as COVID-19 made an impact on the residents in the area. To start, I created a video PSA to help recruit new local volunteers and raise awareness of the crucial work the pantry was doing. From there, I helped channel requests by making a google form for the website and supporting the pantry through technological challenges.
This was an impactful and informative summer experience for me. Extensive discussions with Paula, my peers, and leaders of groups both within and beyond Williams taught me a lot about our collective capability to work toward change. I look forward to becoming even more involved with CLiA in the coming semesters and watching future Summer Fellows grow too!"
"This summer was the first time I worked with CLiA, and I really enjoyed my overall experience! We were able to meet people from the Berkshire community and learn about their different specialty areas and initiatives taken to help the community. Also, we were able to learn various skills such as making zines, editing videos, and creating websites, which we used for short-term and long-term projects. I appreciate the support we received from the CLiA staff and other peers, as well as the encouragement to be creative in our individual projects.
One of my favorite parts of the internship was learning how to create and edit videos. Using these skills, I was able to create a PSA for Berkshire Interfaith Organizing (BIO) about immigrant justice initiatives. I think this is especially important during the current COVID-19 pandemic. With increased social distancing and less in-person interactions, it may be easier to feel disconnected from others in the community. There are also more regulations against immigrants in our country, which is unfair to those who need to have their voices heard. In response, I hoped to communicate that there are people who genuinely care and are working to support immigrants.
For my long-term project, I created a video about theatre productions from the Barrington Stage Company that address racial justice. Many of these productions challenge us to reflect about several things: How do we learn about the history of racial injustice? When do we realize the discomfort that
comes with racial injustice, and how can we support people who have experienced this discomfort? These thoughts can influence us to educate ourselves and foster conversations to gain a deeper understanding about our racial backgrounds and the racial injustices in our country. There are also other productions that celebrate and uplift people of color, and I think this should be encouraged more in our culture and society."
"As a Community Outreach Fellow, I was able to learn about the efforts of various community groups and meet so many amazing people from across the Berkshires. This was one of the most rewarding aspects of the program for me, not only because I learned more about how I can personally get involved, but also because I was inspired by stories of how other people engage with their community to further expand my own sense of community. Williams can feel quite small, but as a Community Outreach Fellow, I was reminded on a daily basis of how vibrant and active the Berkshires community truly is.
For my first project, I created a Zine in which I proposed a more diverse English curriculum. Growing up, I rarely felt represented in the books we were told to read at school, so I decided to create my ideal reading curriculum, a curriculum that features a wide range of voices. Of course, it is still limited to my reading history, but I hope that anyone who stumbles across it finds at least one book that interests them—or even one they fall in love with! I also worked with a local food pantry, the Al Nelson Friendship Center, to create a PSA with the goal of encouraging more people to stop by for food. This was such a wonderful experience because I was able to work directly with members of the food pantry. For my final project, I worked with several other fellows to come up with educational activities for students living in the low-income housing community, Mohawk Forest. I created a Build-Your-Own Adventure advice handbook and walk-through for them. Working on these projects allowed me to indulge my creative side while
honing my efforts toward a specific goal.
I am so grateful to Paula and everyone at CLiA for making this experience possible!"
Even with all the difficulties in this era of COVID-19, this fellowship with the Center for Learning in Action still found a way to connect me to the Berkshires and get to experience a sense of community around the Purple Bubble. I had the opportunity this past summer to work with fantastic rising sophomores and juniors in various projects to support organizations hurting after the devastating effects of the pandemic. Throughout these weeks, the Center for Learning in Action Director, Paula Consolini, supported all of us in our individual projects, providing the resources and counseling necessary towards making an impact in the Berkshires. We had the opportunity to meet with students and leaders working on projects affecting the county, and this allowed me to get a greater understanding of all the various initiatives that I could take a part in throughout the school year.
Probably the greatest benefit of the program is its skillbuilding aspect, teaching about creating and distributing zines, using WordPress to edit websites, using PremierPro to create videos, and ThinkerAnalytix training to learn more about teaching argument mapping. And, of course, learning in action through spearheading your own projects with the support of students and staff. I worked on an original composition for my zine project, expressing artistically the changing yet stable nature of living through the pandemic. Another project was creating a public service announcement video for Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, an organization in the Berkshires that emphasizes the power of listening to peoples’ stories to make an impact in important areas such as racial justice, education, transportation, and immigration justice. Finally, I began work with Mohawk Forest, a low-income housing community, to engage its community members with fun and creative activities learning how to make music, a project that will continue into the academic year.
I had a phenomenal experience working with Paula and my fellow students this summer, and as this summer showed, the CLiA Fellowship will be extraordinary regardless of circumstances. I would highly recommend taking this opportunity to step outside the Purple Bubble and truly feel at home in the Berkshires.
"I had an informative and wonderful summer while working with CLiA. Having had my first-year cut short due to the pandemic, I knew I wanted to get involved with the Berkshires over the summer. Thankfully, I was able to do so in a virtual environment while working on community projects under the guidance of Paula.
My short-term project was creating a video aimed at encouraging students from and out of Williams to vote in the upcoming election. My team and I researched Williams and the Berkshires voting statistics to supplement our video and also learned useful video editing and marketing skills. For my long-term project, I knew I wanted to focus on public health, so I, along with a peer, worked on a research and resource website aimed at providing resources to families, students, and educators during the pandemic. Our research primarily focused on how COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting marginalized communities and used this information to examine the risks of reopening schools in Berkshire County public schools. Additionally, we carefully analyzed the reopening plan, taking note of evidence school districts were using as a reason to re-open schools and found it interesting that many of them involved research conducted in other countries, which had significantly lower infection rates and COVID-19 cases.
From these projects, I believe I was able to learn about the Berkshires and Williams in depth, and I know that the knowledge and connections developed during these few weeks will continue to help me in my future endeavors!"
"I have always been interested in community outreach work and, in particular, learning how to build effective, reciprocal relationships with partners and maintaining a mutually beneficial partnership. This summer only added to my interest and knowledge. As a fellow I was able to learn more about the wonderful work done at CLiA - whether it be led by students, or passionate faculty and alumni- and learn about the innovative work being done in the local community. I worked with a team to create a PSA/ tribute video series for non-medical essential workers and helped create some summer enrichment programing for students in the low- income housing community, Mohawk Forest. Both opportunities helped me to better understand both the vibrant energy and collaborative nature of the communities we worked with, but also some of the underlying struggles that many were working to combat. In this time of crisis, food insecurity, lack of access to the internet, racial injustice were especially relevant difficulties. I was inspired to both witness the local communities come together to combat these deeply ingrained obstacles, and to be a part of a team of fellows eager to learn about these structural issues.
Ultimately, I think that lessons I learned this summer I will take with me for my work as a Davis Center Community Engagement Fellow and beyond as I continue to organize, critically analyze power structures, and hopefully create meaningful change."
"This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity of working at CLiA. I wanted to learn more about the Berkshires and how I can be a more active member of the community. I was able to listen and speak to many leaders in the Berkshire County about their passions as well as develop skills in leadership and teamwork.
In one of my projects, my group partnered with The Berkshire Community Action Council and The Northern Berkshire United Way to create a series of tribute videos to non-medical essential workers. While our main goal was to thank everyone working through these tough times, we also wanted to remind everyone that they can only continue to do their jobs if we do ours. So, reminding everyone to follow social distancing guidelines and to always wear their masks was important to include in the videos.
My last project that I was involved in was related to racial injustice, specifically, redlining. I decided to make a series of infographics that summarizes the most important information. The main goal of this project is to bring awareness to redlining as well as any other possible parts of history that are either overlooked or not taught in schools at all.
Overall, my experience at CLiA (despite being remote) has showed me how much the community cares about it. Paula was an inspiring mentor and my time at CLiA will always be remembered."